Dear Reader,

Lakshadweep has been in the headlines following a visit by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and his vouching for the stunningly beautiful archipelago, abutting the Malabar Coast of India, as an equally inviting alternative to similar locales on foreign shores.

However, TrueCopy Think reports (a week before the prime ministerial visit) that there is widespread discontent on the isles about some of the contentious decisions by the Union Territory’s government, allegedly seeking to change the ‘cultural’ character of the 'one lakh islands.'

The decisions range from the move to enforce the CBSE syllabus, resulting in the downgrading of the local Malayalam language, changing the mandatory day off for schools from Friday to Sunday and a new tourism policy, amongst others, which is perceived to exclude the locals from its embrace.

The amended Forest Conservation Act that came into effect last month has been challenged in the country’s highest court for fears that the legislation would accentuate the exploitation of ecologically sensitive forest zones. The amendments, which were passed with barely any discussion, raise concerns that it would spell doom for large swathes of forests for projects approved in the name of ‘national security.' The Supreme Court Observer cautions that the Act could severely impact almost 90 per cent of designated forest zones in Northeast India.

Women are increasingly playing a role, even in fields traditionally considered the preserve of men. This is also true in the gig economy, where, for instance, women car drivers are even preferred, for they bring a sense of safety to other women whose work requires them to keep late hours. However, while the women cab drivers provide comfort and security for others, their own state is, at best, precarious. The absence of a formal employee status means they are denied medical insurance and legal and financial support from the employer. Article 14 reports from the national capital region that they are largely left to fend for themselves in times of distress with no support systems in place.

As India stands at the cusp of a critical general election, red flags have sought to be raised on the credibility of the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs). Predictably, more questions have come from the Opposition, who even argue that India should revert to paper ballots. The India Forum argues that while the EVMs “cannot be hacked,” some vulnerabilities in the present electronic polling process can lead to “compromises” in the credibility of the vote. Therefore, instead of reverting to the old, largely tainted method of ballot papers, the current system needs to be tightened, especially in ensuring VVPAT matching between the ballot unit and the control unit.

For more such stories from the grantees this week, please read on.


Sunil Rajshekhar

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മലയാളം വിലക്കുന്ന ഭരണകൂടം, മനുഷ്യാവകാശലംഘനങ്ങളുടെ ലക്ഷദ്വീപ്

While Lakshadweep has been touted as a go-to destination for beach tourism for India, an alternative to foreign locales, TrueCopy Think reports that all is not well in the island paradise, with locals alleging that their culture is being eroded.

Read Here

The amended green law is full of red flags

The Supreme Court Observer looks at what ails the amendments to the Forest Conservation Act and the adverse impact it potentially has on the environment.

Read Here

Harassment & Unsafe Workspaces: How Women Cab Drivers Survive The Risky Roads Of India’s Capital

In a world ruled by on-demand taxis, food and services, women in the gig industry are at greater risk, devoid of social security and nothing to fall back on. Article 14 brings you their travails.

Read Here

Bringing Trust to Electronic Elections in India

While it is clear that EVMs “cannot be hacked”, The India Forum asserts that lingering doubts on some aspects of electronic polling must be allayed.

Read Here

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Nine years since it was announced, the free education scheme in Bihar for girls up to post-graduate level has remained on paper, Democratic Charkha reports.
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